How to cut down on dairy/wheat/sugar without losing weight?
August 25, 2006 4:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in reducing dairy, wheat and sugar from my diet. Any tips on how to do it without losing weight?

Overall, I eat a pretty healthy diet - lots of whole grains, fruits/veg, fish, and chicken. Very little red meat, almost no junk food. I also exercise 3 times a week (aerobic and weights). But for all that, I've noticed increased feelings of sluggishness (not to mention mild sinus problems) and wonder if it might be related to my weakness for dairy, sweets, and breads. (Recent doctor's visits and tests have all ruled out any obvious medical culprits.)

The catch is that I am very happy with my current healthy weight - I don't have any interest in losing even 5 lbs., but everything I've read about cutting out dairy/sugar/wheat says that one of the immediate side effects is losing weight. So how best to lose the daily milk/cheese/yogurt/bread/pastry habit (*sob*) without losing any poundage?
posted by fizzyliftingdrink to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
oh, I should add: I don't know that I can go cold turkey and just quit it all at once. So any suggestions about what the best things are to reduce in lieu of others would also be helpful (like is it better to cut yogurt but allow cheese now and then, etc.).
posted by fizzyliftingdrink at 4:58 PM on August 25, 2006

Avoid exercise.

I need to do three things to get my weight to drop:

* Low carb diet
* No snacking between meals
* Exercise

Ignore all three, my weight goes up noticably. Ignore two and it sneaks up slowly. Skip one and it drifts down slowly. Do all three and it goes down noticably.

The question I have; *how* can you lose dairy/sugar/wheat from your diet? That would rule out almost everything from every lunch place near where I work -- leaving me with only some very limp salads.
posted by krisjohn at 5:08 PM on August 25, 2006

Avacados, eggs, nuts and coconut come to mind. Fresh coconut is goooood. You'll need a drill, a cup, and a hammer & chisel to open it.
posted by leapingsheep at 5:11 PM on August 25, 2006

If, by cutting out all of those things, you cut out most of your daily carbs, you will probably lose weight immediately in the form of water.
Carbs are fattening for most people because they are easily digestible and don't tend to be as sating as protein (and maybe fat, although there is mixed evidence on that). So you will have to really work at eating enough calories to keep your weight stable, and find sources of carbs that aren't dairy, sweets and breads.
If it were me I would cut out one thing at a time, to try and figure out which of those things (if any) is the culprit. It's unlikely that you are sensitive to all of those things at once. Cutting one but leaving the others should leave you with less of a problem finding things to make up for the calories.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:13 PM on August 25, 2006

Do you have to cut out carbs? Are are you thinking of cutting out wheat? Because that leaves you with a lot of choices around rice products, potato bread, etc.
posted by jeanmari at 5:22 PM on August 25, 2006

Do you like to drink alcoholic beverages? They are more caloric than any food.
posted by owhydididoit at 5:28 PM on August 25, 2006

Load up on good fats (like leapingsheep suggested, plus olive oil). These are easy to add to a diet because they can be sauces on top of things you already eat.

If you like smoothies or soups, those are a good place to add calories (with banana, avocado, or protein powder).

Plus, you might be able to just *eat more* of the good categories.

Get whole-grain bread instead of the pastries made with all white flour. It fills that sandwich/bread craving spot, but fills you up faster and takes longer to digest than the predigested white flour stuff.

Cutting your intake of the big three (white wheat-based flour; processed sugar; dairy) even by a quarter or a half may help with the sluggishness, and would be a good goal. As you say, cold turkey is hard!

Changing snack habits is the main thing, probably, so you will probably succeed best if you can just make a point of always having nuts, fresh fruit or veggies with you at craving times. If you're really concerned about losing weight, you can dunk your apple slices in non-transfat peanut butter and your veggies in an olive-oil-based sauce. Rice is another thing that's easy to keep around the house, easy to tart up with whatever beans, meat, veggies, and sauce you have handy.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:30 PM on August 25, 2006

Plan your meals so that you are eating a large evening meal shortly before going to bed. This may not be compatible if you have sleep issues, but you will gain weight.
posted by fire&wings at 6:16 PM on August 25, 2006

Why re-invent the wheel?

Native American, Southeast Asian (includes S. China in this case), Equatorial African, and some other cuisine all evolved without dairy, wheat, or sugar. Those cuisines are much modified these days, and all had at least some sugars (none sucrose, though) - - but if you can find old school or "authentic recipes" you'll have a gold mine.
posted by Jos Bleau at 6:38 PM on August 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you are already a healthy weight you probably won't lose much if any weight by changing the mix in your diet. If you do, add in some protein. Protein is the ultimate alertness food. I learned this through too much overseas travel. Carbs for breakfast - sleep through the day, protein for breakfast - forget you are six hours off your time zone.
posted by caddis at 6:48 PM on August 25, 2006

Fruit contains a lot of sugar (in the form of fructose), but it's not in the form of empty calories, so it's not so bad. You didn't say whether you're trying to cut out all sugars, or just processed sugar (generally high fructose corn syrup) and sucrose, but if eating a lot of fruit is acceptable, then that opens up a lot of options. Fresh fruit, apple sauce, smoothies (with protein powder or whatnot as mentioned above), and so on.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 6:52 PM on August 25, 2006

Tagalong question, I hope you don't mind: If I order a standard meat pizza with absolutely no cheese, how much am I reducing the calories and fat?

(because I just finished 3/4 of a medium without cheese and no I feel disgusting and guilty)
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:10 PM on August 25, 2006

Cold turkey is hard, but don't mess around - just do it! It can be more of a pain to drag it out, eliminating one thing at a time. I did it one thing at a time and it sucked - it takes longer that way. Here are things you can eat - I'm going to assume you mean refined sugars:

Any fruit - don't forget dried fruits, including raisins
Any vegetable, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, corn and a lot of corn products
Any meat or fish (poultry skin has lots of fat)
Any oil - drizzle it on potatoes and sweet potatoes
Rice, and ANY rice derivatives - rice flour, rice milk, rice breads (but YUCK)
Any beans and lentils - make and freeze soups for quick meals
Any nuts, including nut butters
Any soy product, including soy milk and fake meats
Coconut milk (makes good pudding)
Nucoa margarine has no milk whatsoever

But the bottom line is you may have to eat constantly. I'm a woman with a fairly slow metabolism, and it was hard for me to maintain my weight on my elimination diet - but I wasn't eating fish or nuts. Those offer a huge advantage if you can have them in your diet.
posted by peep at 8:06 PM on August 25, 2006

Spoonfuls of natural (no sugar) nut butters. Dried fruit. Juice. You shouldn't lose weight if the rest of your diet maintains a similar level of intake and is already healthy.

I think the generally accepted method is to quit all at the same time, then introduce them individually in small amounts, if you're looking to get to the root of a possible food sensitivity.
posted by methylsalicylate at 5:31 AM on August 26, 2006

simple. increase your fat intake.
posted by noyceguy at 9:20 AM on August 26, 2006

simple. increase your fat intake.

The fact that the OP will be dramatically decreasing fat intake by virtue of cutting out dairy and sweets is precisely why it's not so simple.

Speaking of cutting out (or decreasing) dairy, if you currently eat a lot of yogurt, you may want to consider taking an acidophilus supplement when you quit eating it in order to maintain your levels of "good" bacteria.
posted by scody at 10:42 AM on August 26, 2006

Start by cutting out one of them. Whichever you'll miss the least. Go for a decent amount of time, say two weeks. If that hasn't got you feeling better, cut out a second one, etc. No need to shock you body by quitting all three at once.
As you adjust to one of them missing from your diet, you'll quite probably find yourself craving something similar, ie, cut out refined sugar and eat whole fruit (not fruit juice, that's just vitaminey sugar water anyway). \
Cut out dairy and replace it with rice or soy cheeses (these can take some getting used to, so you might have to experiment with them a bit) and milks.
When you cut out wheat, replace those items with other, whole grain, foods. All the natural/healthfood stores, along with many chain groceries these days, have alternatives to wheat in breads, crackers, cereals, etc. The first thing I would recommend, if like me you eat lots of sandwiches- wheat in the bread, would be to switch to a sprouted grain bread, Alvarado Street Bakery or Ezekiel are the tops and are found in the frozen food section.
Adding something like a nut snack mix or nut butters is a quick and easy way to keep caloric intake up.
Basically, don't just drop things from your diet, replace them. But what they contribute to, mucous in your digestive tract, stuffy sinuses, this goop has mass therefore if you shed it you will be losing a bit of weight. But if you replace with healthier foods, you'll gain it back
(Feel free to email me for more info as I worked in the natural foods industry for years.)
posted by iurodivii at 8:15 AM on August 27, 2006

thanks for the comments - some great food (ahem) for thought here. i've tried to mark several as "best answer," but for some reason when I click on the link to do it, nothing happens.
posted by fizzyliftingdrink at 6:34 PM on August 27, 2006

oops, and now that I've actually posted: the best answers - they are marked!
posted by fizzyliftingdrink at 6:34 PM on August 27, 2006

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